Vallabhbhai Patel was dubbed “Sardar” (chief) for his leadership skills in leading the country through the struggle for independence and beyond, and most notably during the integration of the princely states and the India-Pakistan War of 1947
India is celebrating October 31 as National Unity Day to pay tributes to veteran freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was also the country’s first home minister whose contribution in convincing many of the princely states to join the Union of India after Independence remains especially notable. As the country remains grateful for Patel’s crucial efforts leading to the integration of India, the day is celebrated as a homage to that “national unity”. The government in 2014 declared that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31 will be celebrated as National Unity Day or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
Since 2014, the government has been organising events and programmes on October 31 to honour Vallabhbhai Patel’s contributions. Declaring his birth anniversary as National Unity Day in 2014, the Home Ministry said, “This day will be marked as a reminder of the strength of our nation and will highlight the resilience of our country towards dangers posed against our security, unity, and integrity.”
Vallabhbhai Patel was dubbed “Sardar” (chief) for his leadership skills in leading the country through the struggle for independence and beyond, and most notably during the integration of the princely states and the India-Pakistan War of 1947.
In his memory, The Statue of Unity, a colossal symbol of India’s unity, stands tall on the banks of the Narmada river in Vadodara, Gujarat. The statue was unveiled in 2018. This year we will celebrate Vallabhbhai Patel’s 146th birth anniversary.
Sardar Patel achieved the incredible feat of persuading almost every single one of the 565 self-governing princely states, that had been released from British suzerainty, to accede to the Union of India. For his commitment to the national integration of the newly independent country, Sardar Patel earned the sobriquet “Iron Man of India”.
Vallabhbhai Patel joined the Indian freedom movement to oppose British rule. His beliefs brought the nation together and laid the foundation of a strong India. Various events, webinars and seminars are organised across the country on this day.
On National Unity Day, a pledge is read out in government offices:
“I solemnly pledge that I dedicate myself to preserve the unity, integrity, and security of the nation and also strive hard to spread this message among my fellow countrymen. I take this pledge in the spirit of unification of my country which was made possible by the vision and actions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. I also solemnly resolve to make my own contribution to ensure the internal security of my country.”
By official order, all government offices, public sector undertakings (PSUs), and other public institutions are required to arrange the pledge-taking ceremony on October 31 to observe the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
No theme has been declared for this year’s National Unity Day celebrations so far.
The ministry of human resource development has also issued instructions to allow students of schools and colleges to be administered the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas pledge to motivate them to strive to maintain the unity and integrity of the country.